A slubber at the Rawdon woollen mill.

When Emma Pye married Abraham Hargreaves in 1870 in Yorkshire, Abraham’s occupation was given as “Slubber”. ” What on earth does a slubber do?” Thought I.

I discovered Abraham worked at the woollen mill in Rawdon, Yorkshire and that a slubber’s job was to remove slubs or imperfections from the wool.

Emma and Abraham’s children also worked at the mill as mule piecers and condenser minders.

Emma Pye was born in 1838 at Acton Trussell, Staffordshire, the daughter of William Pye (my ancestor’s brother) and Mary Marshall.
Emma and Abraham Hargreaves had five children, David, Kate, Arthur, Jane and Stephen. Emma died in 1889.

Emma’s sister, Mary Marshall formerley Pye, also went to Rawdon where she married her second husband, Thomas Robert Stutton. Thomas also worked at the woollen mill. Mary died in 1776 and Thomas in 1877. Mary had two children, Clara and Mary Elizabeth Marshall.

In the history of Rawdon there is an interesting story about the Rev Samuel Marsden who on a trip to Australia obtained some merino wool which he took to the Rawdon woollen mill to have a suit made, King George saw the suit and commissioned one for himself.

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POW Limburg, Germany. Charles Burns.

As many of the Army records for World War One were destroyed during the London bombing of the second World War, it was great to discover that the newspaper, Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Gazette featured full page spreads during the first world war years of the local lads who were wounded, killed or missing. It featured photos of at least a dozen soldiers with a paragraph or two about each person.

My father’s English second cousin, Lance Corporal Charles Burns, the son of Mary Ann Pye and Zachariah Burns, was pictured in the newspaper. I knew that Charles Burns had died on 7 June, 1918 and had assumed that he had been killed in action, but this article revealed a different story.

It read, “Lance Corporal Charles Burns who has been missing since May 27, when he was in action with the Rifle Brigade, is now known by his parents … To be a prisoner of war at Limburg, Germany.”

I wonder if Charles was wounded when he was captured as he died within days of capture and cannot have been at the camp for long. An interesting detail about the camp at Limburg was that Irish prisoners were sent there in the attempt to recruit them to form an Irish Brigade in the German Army.

Charles Burns is buried in the Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille situated on the outskirts of Boulogne, France. This cemetery was only opened in the month of Charles’s death, therefore I am uncertain if Charles’s body was one of those reinterred here after the War.

The newspaper article was published on 2 November 1918 which was five months after Charles had died. It is sad to think that his parents were still hopeful of his wellbeing. The article also reported that Charles’s brother, George Burns, had been wounded and returned to home service in England.

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Copying information from this blog.

I have just visited the convictrecords.com.au website and noticed that someone has made a contribution to the website (for John Pye of The Lady Kennaway) that is directly copied from my article on John Pye in this Blog and from my book, “Tapestry, John Pye of Windsor, NSW.”

Please respect my copyright ownership on all articles on this Blog and in my books. If you wish to use any content from here or my books You MUST acknowledge me as the author. Or at least use your own wording.

Elizabeth Pye

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Nickson family

I have just discovered that Baron Nickson KBE is a sixth cousin once removed. He only ascended to the peerage in 1994.

Our common ancestor is Joseph Pye who married Catherine Reynolds in 1703 at Seighford, Staffordshire. Their daughter Mary Pye married William Nickson in 1726. Mary’s brother, Thomas Pye, the pauper, was my ancestor.

The Nickson line down to the Baron is as follows.

Mary Pye and William Nickson’s son William Nickson married Elizabeth Lymer. Their son John Nickson (a baker in Stafford like his father) married Sarah Matthews. (John’s brother George married Mary Peake and their son George Nickson married his first cousin Mary Nickson, John’s youngest daughter).

John and Sarah’s eldest son, William Nickson married Eliza Wright. William worked initially as a baker before moving to Manchester where he became a Manchester merchant. William and Eliza’s second son, John worked for his aunt and uncle Mary and George Nickson who had moved to Lancashire as provision merchants. George and John formed George and John Nickson and Company Limited. They had businesses in Liverpool, London, Manchester and America.

John Nickson married Isabella Wigley and their son Richard Wigley Nickson married Mary Hilda Margaret Scholefield. Their son Geoffrey Wigley Nickson being the father of the Baron.

John and Isabella’s eldest son was the Rev Right George Nickson, Bishop of Bristol for 18 years.

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Pye family tree

Thomas Pye and Margaret his wife, were the parents of a large family.  They lived at Alstone in the parish of Haughton, Staffordshire.

John Pye was their eldest son.  John and his wife Joane had seven children.  John and Joane died within a month of each other in 1570 and their names are the first records listed in the Haughton burial register.

Alexander Pye

Alexander was born during the reign of Henry VIII, however, Queen Elizabeth 1 was the ruling monarch throughout the majority of Alexander’s life.

Alexander and his wife Elizabeth had ten children, five of whom died in childhood.  Two of their surviving children married.  Anne Pye married Humphrey Cox and Thomas Pye married Elizabeth Russell.  Alexander Pye was a Yeoman and was a tenant farmer for Sir Ralph Bouchier, the lord of Haughton Manor.  Alexander farmed tenements at Brazenhill and other areas within the parish of Haughton.

Alexander was buried on the 4 April, 1595 and Elizabeth was buried on 23 March, 1613.

Thomas Pye

Baptised 25 May, 1578 Haughton-Buried 26 March, 1629 Haughton.

Thomas was Alexander and Elizabeth Pye’s eldest surviving son.  He married Elizabeth Russell on 24 April, 1608 at St Giles church, Haughton.  Thomas does not appear in any other records other than the parish registers.  Thomas and Elizabeth had two children:  Frances Pye who married Robert Cox and John Pye who married Anne.

John Pye

Baptised 8 July, 1611 at Haughton.

John Pye and his wife Anne had eight children all born in Haughton during the time of England’s Civil War between the Royalists for King Charles 1 and the Roundheads under Oliver Cromwell.

Yeoman John Pye appears to have been quite a successful tenant farmer.  His cottage contained a parlour, kitchen and buttery, all with bedroom chambers above, one boasted a featherbed.  John owned a dozen or so cattle, 3 mares and a foal, 3 swine and 17 sheep.  He grew corn and hay and had an orchard and garden.  There was also a weaver’s loom and two spinning wheels in the home which the women in the family used.

When John Pye died he bequeathed money to the parish “to be used to buy shoes for the poorest widows and fatherless children”.  Along with the bequests of his two eldest sons, John Jnr and Robert, the Charity that was formed has continued in perpetuity and from 1942 seventeen amalgamated Charities have formed the Abbots Bromley United Charities which continues to support Youth groups and purchase equipment for the handicapped.

John Pye died in the parish of Abbots Bromley after the majority of his children moved to that parish.  He was buried on 6 September, 1681.

Thomas Pye

Baptised 26 April, 1646 Haughton – Buried 21 March, 1728 Uttoxeter.

Thomas Pye was the third son of John and Anne Pye.  Thomas began his working life as a Tailor but was later termed a Yeoman.  Thomas married his first wife, Anne Walkelate on 2 February, 1670 in St Nicholas church, Abbots Bromley.  They had four children before Anne’s early death.  Thomas married his second wife, Abigail Foster, on 24 September, 1682.  They had three children, two dying as infants.

Thomas farmed tenements named Hunter’s Croft, Little Heifield and Kue Hurst, that may have been a part of Lord William Bagot’s estate.  These plots of land formed part of the marriage settlement between Thomas and Abigail.  Thomas Pye was named as executor in a number of his relations’ Wills, however, it was his nephew, another Thomas Pye, the son of his elder brother Robert Pye, who inherited the family land and property.

Joseph Pye

Baptised 2 February, 1679 Abbots Bromley – Buried 4 January, 1758 Stockton.

Joseph Pye was the youngest child of Thomas Pye and his first wife, Anne.  Joseph’s elder brother died unmarried at 26 years of age and therefore I assume Joseph inherited his father’s lands in Abbots Bromley and was a yeoman tenant farmer.

Joseph married Catherine Reynolds on 24 February, 1703 and they had nine children, two dying as infants.  Five of Joseph and Catherine’s children married, three of whom had children.

Thomas Pye

Baptised 3 May, 1722 Abbots Bromley – Buried 18 January, 1793 Baswich.

Thomas Pye was the youngest child and only surviving son of Joseph and Catherine Pye.  It is not known what happened to cause the turn-a-round in the Pye’s fortunes but Thomas worked as an annual labourer, meaning he could only get manual and agricultural labouring contracts for a year at a time.

Thomas Pye was about 53 years of age when he married Margaret Lightfoot on 24 December, 1775 in Drayton-in-the-Hales in County Shropshire.  They had seven children and settled in Baswich near Stafford in Staffordshire.  Thomas’s financial circumstances did not improve and he died a Pauper in 1793, leaving behind his wife and five surviving children.  Their two daughters were made Parish apprentices.

Joseph Pye

Born about 1776 – Buried 17 June, 1830 Baswich.

Joseph was the eldest child of Thomas and Margaret Pye.  Joseph Pye married Mary Wetton in St Mary’s church, Stafford on 28 February, 1797.  They had eleven children with the eldest two born in Baswich and the other nine in Rickerscote in the nearby parish of Castle Church.

Rickerscote was a rural hamlet and Joseph spent his life as an agricultural labourer.  Joseph and Mary both died in their early fifties leaving their younger children to be raised by their elder children, George and Mary.

Thomas Pye

Baptised 9 July, 1797 Baswich – Died 5 September, 1880 at Kirkstall, Victoria.

Thomas Pye was the eldest child of Joseph and Mary Pye.  He began labouring at a brick yard as a child.  Thomas married Alice Hall on 3 May, 1819 and they had five children.  They moved to Birmingham in Warwickshire where Alice died.  Thomas worked in a brickyard making tiles and bricks.  By 1836 Thomas was charged with house breaking and transported to New South Wales for life.

Thomas Pye was assigned to Captain Sylvester John Brown and travelled with his master to the district of Port Philip Bay in 1838.  Thomas met his second wife, Mary Sampson, at the Brown’s dairy and they married on 16 October, 1843 at Melbourne.  The Pyes were employed by Brown’s son, Thomas Alexander Brown, and travelled with him to the district that was later known as Bessiebelle, where their first two children were born.  When Thomas received his Ticket-of-Leave the family moved to Port Fairy and a further five children were born to them.  Three of their daughters died young, the other remained single and the three sons married and produced large families.

Thomas Pye worked as a farmer and also grew wheat.  Mary Pye died at 62 years of age and Thomas Pye died at 83 years of age.

Joseph Pye

21 October, 1848 Port Fairy – 19 September, 1919 Died Port Fairy, Victoria

Joseph Pye was the youngest son of Thomas Pye and his second wife, Mary.  Joseph spent his youth in Port Fairy prior to the family moving to Tower Hill then onto the village of Kirkstall.  Joseph married Mary Ann Wiseman on 26 September, 1876 and their first four children were born in Kirkstall before Joseph obtained land at Bessiebelle where the next ten children were born.  Joseph spent the remainder of his life working on his farm.

Joseph was a dedicated farmer and served a term on the local shire council lobbying to improve the opportunities for the community of Bessiebelle.  He was well known as an excellent conversationalist who knew and related the history of the district.

Thomas James Pye

Born 11 July, 1877 Kirkstall, Victoria – Died 17 July, 1939 Warrnambool, Victoria

Thomas James Pye was the eldest of the fourteen children of Joseph and Mary Ann Pye.  Thomas met his wife, Mary Gavin, at her parent’s property, whilst he and his brothers were on their thrashing machine round.

Thomas and Mary settled in Russell’s Creek and had thirteen children.  Thomas worked at the Nestles Milk Factory.  Thomas and Mary were a great example to their children of loving, caring parents who had a deep religious faith.  Thomas kept in touch with his many siblings as much as he was able and at one time rode his bicycle all the way from Warrnambool to Bessiebelle to visit them.  Thomas died on 17 July, 1939 at 62 years of age.

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The real ‘Joe Burge’ of Old Melbourne Memories

The real ‘Joe Burge’ of ‘Old Melbourne Memories’. ‘C’ was reading a centenary book in which was written the following, “at Squattlesea Mere, near Dunmore, Joe Burge, an Irish servant of squatter Thomas Browne, had built a sod hut ‘as he was accustomed to doing at home’.” Both ‘C’ and I knew that Thomas Browne did not have a servant named ‘Joe Burge’ and that the invented name was a pseudonym that Browne had used for his English, not Irish, servant in his book, ‘Old Melbourne memories.’ (OMM)  A book that was written by Browne 40 years after his residence at ‘Squattlesea Mere’ about his memories of his youth in the district.  It was a very romanticized version of squatting life written to appeal to his literary followers. Browne himself wrote (unpublished autobiography) “Joe Burge was born and brought up in the pottery district of Staffordshire.”  So why did the author of the book assume that ‘Joe Burge’ was an Irishman who was accustomed to building sod huts back home?  I can see that she wanted an analogy to support the context of the Irish Catholic community she was writing about and I suspect she used second-hand material as the quote she copied was not in OMM that she attributed it to.  Therefore, the assumption that Joe Burge was the servant’s real name and that he was Irish was someone else’s error. It appears that some authors and family historians are too quick to attribute certain characteristics, emotions and motives to our early ancestors that might be far from the truth. So who was the real ‘Joe Burge’?  Thomas Browne answers that question himself in a letter written to a friend in 1898, “my old servant – Thos Pye – who is mentioned in ‘Old Melbourne Memories’ as ‘Joe Burge’.” Thomas Pye was an Englishman – a brick and tile maker from Staffordshire and the West Midlands.  Where he learnt to build sod huts is unknown but Browne tells us he was very versatile and had “picked up a fair notion of the leading agricultural industry which he used to some purpose in the new country.”  Thomas Pye spent the first 40 years of his life in England and seven years in the colonies before he built the hut at Squattlesea Mere – plenty of life experience to learn such a skill.

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Who are Joseph Pye’s parents?

Who are Joseph Pye’s parents?

It was easy to trace back to my great, great grandfather, Thomas Pye, who was the ancestor that came to Australia in 1837.  His very informative death certificate showed that Thomas was born in Staffordshire, had married his first wife there and had five children by her and had married his second wife in Melbourne, Victoria and had seven children by her.  Thomas’s parents were named as Joseph Pye and Mary Wetton.

A search of the IGI (International Genealogical Index) gave the marriage of Joseph Pye to Mary Wetton on 28 February 1797 in St Mary’s parish, Stafford, Stf; with Thomas’s baptism, and his sister Elizabeth’s, recorded in the neighbouring parish of Baswich.  The following nine children were baptised in the parish of Castle Church, where Joseph and Mary had settled in the hamlet of Rickerscote.

The next step was to follow Joseph Pye’s ancestry back in time.  Having found his marriage record, which did not give fathers’ names in 1797 and  found his burial record (17 June, 1830) which stated Joseph was 54 years of age.  From his age at death, 54 years, I calculated that Joseph was born about 1776.  However, there was no baptism record in the whole of the county of Staffordshire for a Joseph Pye during or near 1776.  Therefore I looked at the Pyes living in the vicinity of Stafford to see if I could determine parents for Joseph.

There really was only one Pye couple to which Joseph could belong and that was Thomas and Margaret Pye who resided in the parish of Baswich/Berkswich.  There were baptisms for six children to Thomas and Margaret starting with their son John in 1777.  Could Joseph possibly be their eldest child?  I needed to look in records other than parish registers.

Thomas Pye’s burial record listed he was a “pauper” at the time of his death – which was very fortunate for me because it meant that there were Poor Law records that I could search for more information on the family of Thomas and Margaret Pye.  I obtained a copy of Thomas Pye’s Examination Certificate which was dated 10 June, 1782.  The last line stated, “that he hath a wife named Margaret and four children in the said township of Walton & Berkswich.”  Only three of their children’s baptisms were recorded in the Baswich parish records prior to 1782; John in 1777, George in 1780 and William in 1782.  This proves that Thomas and Margaret did have another child born prior to 1782 and that is likely to be Joseph.  It was also noted that Thomas’s father’s name was Joseph and it seems that Thomas named his eldest child after his own father.  This Examination Certificate also stated that Thomas Pye was originally from Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire.

I believe I have confirmed Joseph Pye’s parents.  There are many trees on Ancestry which have, I assume, solely been compiled from the parish baptism records (or copied from other trees entered on Ancestry) and they have chosen a Joseph Pye baptised in 1766 in High Offley.  But this individual is 10 years too old to be my ancestor.  There are those who have also chosen a baptism for Joseph’s wife, Mary Wetton, which is 10 years too old (her burial record states Mary was 52 years old when she died), possibly not calculating that the individual they chose would be having a large family well into her 60s!!

I am not saying all “trees” on Ancestry are wrong.  Some have led me to correct my own errors, but if I see a discrepancy with my own assumptions then I go back and search the records on all websites and those available original documents again to see if the “tree” details provided are valid.

Enjoy the hobby, but do your research well.

Post script 22 May 2014

I just had a look on Ancestry and have counted at least 60 different trees that have taken the baptismal date of a Joseph Pye, son of Thomas and Anne Pye, who was baptised on 5 October, 1766 at High Offley, Staffordshire and changed the year to 1776 and then applied it to Joseph Pye, the son of Thomas and Margaret Pye of Baswich, Staffordshire.

Are all family researchers sheep?  Do they think that if someone else has a full date it must be right?  And who was the first person to think well 1766 doesn’t fit with the correct birth era of the person on my tree, so I’ll just change the year to 1776 but keep the day of month of this other baptism of a child belonging to different parents.  It’s sad and pathetic and perpetuates errors.

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